This Vegan Tofu Red Thai Curry is an amazing meal that is bursting with flavour. What a colourful way to brighten up a dreary winter day! And absolutely delicious if I might add.
The Berlin winters are so gray and dreary, I really struggle with keeping my spirits up. Lots of fresh air helps, a good book, definitely less time on my phone and above all nutritious and healthy food. You all know how much I love burrowing into a big bag of Maltesers and as much as I try to not categorize food into good and bad, I’m pretty sure those little balls of chocolatey bliss are not especially good for me. And as much as I love the sugary goodness, I feel sluggish and tired after indulging. So more veggies and less processed sugar for me right now.
This curry is amazingly versatile as you can basically use any veggies you have on hand. Here, I used yellow bell pepper, eggplant, broccoli and spinach, but you could substitute carrots, zucchini, mushrooms or cauliflower.
Now, I know how many people feel about tofu, but I have a really good method for making it flavorful and delicious, with wonderfully crispy edges. If you feel very strongly about tofu, i.e. you hate it so much that you can’t get past it, just leave it out! It will be just as good.
350 g firm smoked tofu
1 cup plus 5 tbsp (400ml) coconut milk, divided
4 tablespoon red curry paste, divided (check the ingredients list, sometimes there can be shrimp paste in there, but there are plenty of vegan options that do without)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or substitute vegetable oil)
2 cups (6oz/180g) broccoli florets
1 cup (4,5oz/130g) red or orange bell pepper, cubed
1 cup (3oz/90g) eggplant
2 cups (60g) fresh spinach
1” piece fresh ginger, grated (1/2 tablespoon)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
1 cup (17g) fresh cilantro
1 red chili, sliced (optional)
white or brown rice for serving
The best way to prepare firm tofu is to press it. Some smoked tofus are extra firm and do not need to be pressed. The best way to check if your tofu needs to be pressed is to blot it with a paper towel. If the paper towel comes away fairly dry, you can cut the tofu into cubes and proceed with the recipe below.
If the paper towel picks up moisture, the tofu will be better if you press it.
To do so, wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel, place it on a plate with a lip and weigh it down with a heavy pan (or a pan further weighted down by cans or jars) for 30 minutes. Discard the accumulated water and proceed with the recipe.
Cut the smoked tofu into cubes. Place in a medium sized Tupperware. In a small bowl, place 5 tablespoons of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons of red curry paste and one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Mix thoroughly to form a paste. Pour over the tofu and toss so that it is covered by the paste. Marinate for 2 hours or overnight. If marinating longer than two hours, please refrigerate.
When you are ready to cook, prepare two pans. Heat one large pan on medium high with one tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil. Add the ginger, garlic, onion, lemongrass paste and 1 tablespoon of red curry paste. Cook until soft and fragrant.
Add the broccoli florets, bell peppers and eggplant. Stir to toss the veggies in the curry mixture. Add one cup of coconut milk and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir. Turn heat down slightly, cover and let simmer for 7-8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft but al dente (with bite).
Heat a medium sized pan on medium high and place the marinated tofu in the pan. Scrape out any remaining marinade into the pan. Spread the tofu out in a single layer. Fry until crispy, about five minutes on each side. If you find that the marinade is evaporating too quickly, turn the heat down slightly. The tofu will crisp up and form lacy edges, that’s exactly what we want!
Add the spinach to the pan with the other vegetables and cook for one more minute until the spinach is wilted.
Remove from heat.
Add the crispy tofu and stir to combine.
Serve immediately over brown or white rice, garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced chilis if you wish.